Tucked away in the far North of Kruger National Park, hugged by two rivers and littered with baobabs, lies a truly remarkable piece of land: 26 000ha of pristine wilderness, as rich in ecological biodiversity as it is in cultural history.
I first set foot in the Makuleke Concession, also known as the Pafuri Triangle, one unusually balmy day in July a few years ago. I had just embarked on a life-changing adventure, a transition from an overworked and underpaid diesel mechanic on South Africa’s platinum mines to an intrepid trails guide and all-around quality South African safari guide. Well, at least that’s what I thought at the time.
I had no idea of the rollercoaster ride of self-discovery, laughter, tears, love and friendship that lay ahead of me.
Looking back on an unbelievable couple of years, there is without a doubt, one element that stands out. The starting point and solid bedrock of my personal journey. A constant in a continually changing and evolving set of memories, decisions and chances. Makuleke.
Sure, I understand, how can I possibly expect you to believe that a piece of land can have such a profound effect on a person’s life?
I mean, when you break it down and strip it bare, it is merely a bunch of biotic and abiotic components reacting and inter-reacting, creating relationships and inter-relationships and forming a canvas on which a picture of life can be painted …
But Makuleke is not just another piece of land. It is an expertly woven tapestry with a beauty and complexity very rarely seen. It is a small piece of wild heaven, a big step back into Old Africa. It is a place where magic not only exists but where you can see it every single day.
Join me on a walk through the heart of one of South Africa’s last true remaining wilderness areas, as Alan McSmith and I try to shine a gentle light of understanding on some of the secrets of the ebb and flow of life and history, in the unique and truly memorable Makuleke Concession.